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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Thankkful Give-Away for Followers

Dave would, in great excitement, call out to me, "You've got another Follower!" That tickled him, and me, so much; thank you for that gift, that great memory. He would click on your names, visit your blogs...never leave a comment though -smile-...and tell me, "you have the nicest followers!" Very rarely did he leave a comment on my blog and mostly as "Mr. Stumbles".

Yes, there is a give-away...just keep reading!

He was right. You are the nicest folks and, a lot of times, leave the nicest comments. You've tucked me into prayer, commiserated with me when things were going not so well, blogged about me, stood in the gap for Dave and I, written Sabbath Keeping when I was unable, sent me cards with actual stamps, e-cards, gifts, poems. Truly, you have blessed me greatly and there have been dark days when I would go back over each and every comment just to feel love and loved; to know I wasn't alone in my miserable grief. When I was unable to pray, you prayed; when I was unable to post an entry, you said, "it's your blog, post when
you're able"; when I felt so absolutely bereft of life's longing, what kept me going was knowing someone was standing in the gap for me. Bless Ezekiel's heart, he found no one but God sent me you! If you're not a Christian, you can't understand what it's like...knowing someone, somewhere is taking your name to the throne of God and beseeching Him, the creator of the Universe, on your behalf. I'm telling you, it makes me want to have church...right now!

Mercy Father, please bless us each and every one!

Thank you for your prayers, your comments, your outpouring of love. 
As Robert Frost wrote:

"Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and the day was past.
Sombre clouds in the west were massed.
Out on the porch's sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
 Word I had no one left but God."
So, for the giftie...a beautiful china cup and saucer with a ten bag packet of green tea and a beloved book, The Mercy Seller. I enjoyed this book, greatly, and hope you will also. I'll ship all of it to anyone, anywhere because you only have to be a follower; this is my way of saying you're the best and I thank God for you!

The rules...

~open to TCF followers world-wide  
~comment on this post for your chance to win
~leave a way for me to contact you...sorry, but no searching for e-mail
~comments taken until Sunday, February 5 at midnight
~when your name is drawn, Monday, February 6 at 9:00 a.m. and then you're notified, you have 24 hours to send me your snail mail Tuesday, 9:00 a.m., if necessary, I'll do a random drawing again

Blessings ~ followers, each and every one ~

Sunday, January 29, 2012

~ God's Grace ~
" I love the Lord because He has heard my appeal for mercy. Because He has turned his ear to me, I will call out to Him as long as I live. The ropes of death were wrapped around me, and the torments of Sheol overcame me; I encountered trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of Yahweh: "Yahweh save me!"

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate. The Lord guards the inexperienced; I was helpless, and He saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.

For You, Lord, rescued me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. I believed, even when I said, "I am severely afflicted." In my alarm I said, "Everyone is a liar."

How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will take the cup of salvation and call on the name of Yahweh. I will fulfill my vows o the Lord in the presence of His people. the death of His faithful ones is valuable in the Lord's sight.

Lord, I am indeed Your servant; I am Your servant, the daughter of Your female servant. You have loosened my bonds. I will offer You a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of His people, in the courts of the Lord's house--within you, Jerusalem.

~ Psalm 116 ~ 

"Never forget - God is on both sides of the grave."

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All Will Be Well

"All things shall be well
You shall see for yourself that
All manner of things shall be well

For as the body is clad in the cloth,
And the flesh in the skin,
And the bones in the flesh
And the heart in the trunk
So are soul, and body, clad and enclosed
   in the goodness of God
As truly as God is our Father,
   so truly is God our mother
And he revealed that in everything and  
   especially in these sweet words where he says,

"I am the power and goodness of fatherhood,
I am the wisdom and lovingness of motherhood.
I am the light and grace which is all blessed love."

I looked at the hazel nut with the eye of my understanding
   and thought, what can this be?
I was amazed that it could last for I thought that because
   of its littleness it would suddenly have fallen into nothing.

And I was answered in my understanding.
It lasts and always will, because God loves it, and thus
   everything has being through the love of God.

You will not be overcome.
God did not say you will not be troubled,
You will not be belaboured,
You will not be disquieted; 
But God said, You will not be overcome.

What, do you wish to know your Lord's meaning
   in this thing?
Know it well, love was his meaning.
Who reveals it to you?  Love
What did he reveal to you?  Love
Why does he reveal it to you?  For Love
Remain in this.
   And you will know more of the same."
~ St. Julian of Norwich

Blessings ~ love ~

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"The Lord has sent me to bind up the comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
~ Isaiah 61:1-3 and Luke 4:18 ~

"[Death] is what life is all about, a slow discovery of the mortality of all that is created so that we can appreciate its beauty without clinging to it as if it were a lasting possession. Our lives can indeed be seen as a process of becoming familiar with death...when we see life constantly [in the context of] death, we can enjoy it for what it is: a free gift.
The pictures, letters, and books of the past reveal life to us as a constant saying of farewell to beautiful places, good people, and wonderful experience. ...All these times have passed by like friendly visitors, leaving [us] with dear memories but also with the sad recognition of the shortness of life. In ever arrival there is a leavetaking; in each one's growing up here is a growing old; in every smile there is a tear; and in every success there is a loss."
~ Henry Nouwen, A Letter of Consolation ~

"Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good."
~ W. H. Auden ~
"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love." ~ Washington Irving ~

"Let grief do its work. Tramp every inch of the sorrowful way. Drink every drop of the bitter cup. Draw from memory and hope all that they can offer. To see the things our loved ones have left behind will give us daily pain--the clothes they wore, the letters they wrote, the books they read, the chairs in which they sat, the music they loved, the hymns they sat, the walks they took, the games they played, their seat in church, and much beside--but what would we be without those reminders? Would we like quickly to break with the past in order to ease our grief? Those who truly love will say that they have found in sorrow a new joy, a joy which only the broken-hearted can know."
~ W. Graham Scroggie,
quoted in Billy Graham's book Facing Death ~

"I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something."
~ Helen Keller ~

"We have seen a great mystery:
We shall all be changed.
We shall be raised in Christ
as we were buried in Christ.
Death is swallowed up in victory.
The dwelling of God will be with his people.
God will wipe every tear from their eyes;
and death shall be no more.
There shall be no mourning, no crying nor pain;
sorrow and sighting shall flee away.
For the old things are disappearing.
Behold, I am making all things new.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end."
~ Revelation 21 ~

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Blessings ~ past ~ present ~ future ~ 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pam's Story

~ Tim Tebow, photographer unknown to me ~
As some may know, I am not a sports fan and don't pay attention to sports. Probably, I should be ashamed to admit I had no clue who Tim is but folks have, somewhat graciously, put me on the right road -smile-. I am however, always in the corner of another Christian who takes a stand; there aren't enough, wouldn't you agree?

The following story is gripping, real and totally wonderful; it came to me over the signature of Dr. Gerald B. (Jerry) Kieschnick, President Emeritus, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Presidential Ambassador for Mission Advancement, Concordia University Texas. 

"In a recent email, I read about a woman named Pam, who knows the pain of considering abortion. More than 24 years ago, she and her husband Bob were serving as missionaries to the Philippines and praying for a fifth child. Pam contracted amoebic dysentery, an infection of the intestine caused by a parasite found in contaminated food or drink. She went into a coma and was treated with strong antibiotics before they discovered she was pregnant.

Doctors urged her to abort the baby for her own safety and told her that the medicines had caused irreversible damage to her baby. She refused the abortion and cited her Christian faith as the reason for her hope that her son would be born without the devastating disabilities physicians predicted. Pam said the doctors didn't think of it as a life, they thought of it as a mass of fetal tissue.

While pregnant, Pam nearly lost their baby four times but refused to consider abortion. She recalled making a pledge to God with her husband: If you will give us a son, we’ll name him Timothy and we’ll make him a preacher.

Pam ultimately spent the last two months of her pregnancy in bed and eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy August 14, 1987. Pam’s youngest son is indeed a preacher. He preaches in prisons, makes hospital visits, and serves with his father’s ministry in the Philippines. He also plays football. Pam’s son is Tim Tebow.

The University of Florida’s star quarterback became the first sophomore in history to win college football’s highest award, the Heisman Trophy. His current role as quarterback of the Denver Broncos has provided an incredible platform for Christian witness. As a result, he is being called The Mile-High Messiah.

Tim’s notoriety and the family’s inspiring story have given Pam numerous opportunities to speak on behalf of women’s centers across the country. Pam Tebow believes that every little baby you save matters. I pray her tribe will increase!

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always!"

An addendum:

"You ever feel like there's too much Tim Tebow news? Neither do I. Here's a roundup of some of the most interesting Timbits from the aftermath of the Denver Broncos 29-23 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

• The fact that Tebow had 316 yards passing and averaged 31.6 yards per pass in the game didn't escape notice on Sunday night. Tebow wore "John 3:16" on his eye black in the 2009 BCS Championship game and has since become identified with the famous Bible message. The coincidental stats caused millions of fans to perform Google searches on the Bible passage in the past 24 hours. Here's one more unbelievable stat: John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that the final quarter-hour television rating for the Broncos-Steelers game was, you guessed it, 31.6.

(John 3:16 reads: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.")"

Blessings ~ Mr and Mrs. Tebow ~ Tim Tebow ~ a gracious and merciful God who has forgiven me, and will forgive you, for all sins, including abortion ~

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Stages of Grief

Way back when, I went to Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks and Tourism. I specialized in convention and visitor bureau development and geriatric recreation and worked various internships including senior centers. Part of the prep work for the geriatric recreation portion of my degree was taking geriatrics classes and in one of those classes I studied the 1969 ground breaking work of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying.
"If you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of their carvings.” 
In it Ms Kubler-Ross describes the five stages of grief when we lose a loved one. Those stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance but not everyone goes through them in a prescribed order or even goes through each one. The stages are merely tools and no one, No One, can tell anyone else in what order to take them or even to take each one. It's okay to skip one, even more, but you need to let God and yourself tell you what to do. Others cannot tell you what you need or have to do; they can tell you what they did or how they handled their grief but it's still their grief and your grief is your grief. God, in His infinite mercy, deals with each of us, and our grief, as individuals.


I think most Westerner's are uncomfortable with real emotions. Perhaps you've seen those foot ball games or commercials where men are naked, painted blue, hefting a beverage and screaming their heads off. Oh...that's okay -???-  but a person sobbing in public or needing, yet again, to speak of their dead loved one, that's not okay. 
Say whuuuttt?!
Some of us are so out of touch with God, ourselves, our emotions and feelings, we haven't a clue who we are as a person. Some of us have depths never plumbed; frankly, I am fearful of a skin deep faith because it's not if, but when, hard times come.
We seem to be comfortable with over the top emotions or emotions that require nothing in return, save perhaps a quick hug or pat on the back, but real emotions make most people uncomfortable. Real emotions are messy but real emotions are what help us cope and, more importantly, begin the healing process. That's something else...the healing p.r.o.c.e.s.s. . It's a process, meaning it takes time and, again, no one can tell you how much, or how little, time. Anyway, time is irrelevant and as the Bible tells us a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day to God. Have you not experienced a day that fairly fled from sun to sun while another day dragged on for, seemingly, a lifetime? 
There's an old saying, "grieve for three months for a parent, a year for a child and a lifetime for a spouse." Now do you understand why so many old portraits and photographs show women in black widow weeds? I'm not suggesting you grieve according to the old saying but I am suggesting you take your time; if need be, I'm giving you permission to take your time.

Remember this: it takes as long as it takes.
Subsequent studies are similar and say the stages are

shock - initial paralysis
denial - avoidance
anger - out-pouring of emotion
bargaining - trying to find a way out
depression - realization of the situation's reality
testing - trying to find solutions
acceptance - moving forward
but it was Swiss born Kubler-Ross who first introduced us to the stages of grief.
From my experience, grief is physical; dang physical as well as being a black hole that, initially, is totally overwhelming. It's all consuming and life is, at the very best, hard. Extremely hard and even breathing, at times, is all consuming. There are times I gulp air like a guppy and only because I realize I've not breathing. I've been holding my breath and haven't taken a breath in several seconds so I gulp air in an effort to restore oxygen to the organs and brain. 

The few good hours, eventually, turn into a few good days which turn into a few good weeks, time or so I'm told and hoping. Time is the key, don't try and rush it, grief cannot be rushed

Amongst the grieving, there's a lot of living yet to be done, especially if you have children or go to an outside job every day. Thank God, my job has always been taking care of Dave, the farm, the animals and myself but I'm still finding it hard to remember to put myself first. I still forget to eat three meals a day, to sleep eight hours a night and to do two things, daily, that move me forward. I try, but I don't always remember, to be gentle with myself. God knows there are plenty of folks standing in line to kick my fanny so remembering to be being gentle with myself is a Very Good Thing!
If you're a Christian and know someone who has lost a loved one, please, don't judge them. Don't tell them what they should, or shouldn't, be doing; don't tell them they are grieving "incorrectly" or "it's been xx amount of time, don't you think it's time you moved on?"  If you're not a Christian, be tolerant. It's so easy for any of us to tell someone else what to do, but remember, when we're pointing a finger at someone else, we've got three fingers pointing back at us. While we're busy looking at someone else's life, telling them what to do, there are others looking at our lives and thinking we could be doing better as well. 
I'm cross posting here and on the Wife to Widow blog. There are so many things that can be done now while you're still among the living that will make it so much easier for those left behind when you die. Doesn't matter if you're the wife or husband, one of you will, more than likely, go first and, statistically speaking, it will be the husband. 
Oh, you're not married? Guess what? You can still do some of these same things to make it easier on whomever you've designated to be your Executor or Executrix. It will also be less stressful, money will be saved and precious resources won't be lost during the grieving process...when one can ill afford to lose anything because losing something means you have less at hand to deal with an already overwhelming situation. What I write is meant to be helpful but use what you want and toss the rest. It's your life and your decisions; what works for me might not, for whatever reason, work for you. 
Please, do not fret over any of this! 

HOMEWORK - get together a three-ring notebook, lined note paper, plastic sleeves that are open at the top, plastic sleeves that can close at the top, section dividers, three-ring pen holder attached to the notebook and contained therein a pen, small calculator, small ruler, paper clips

Blessings ~ Kubler-Ross ~ friends ~ stages of grief ~ grieving ~ emotions ~ kindness ~ patience ~ gentleness ~

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

 "I will be glad and rejoice in your love; 
for you saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul."

"O Lord I my best desires fulfil. And help me to resign
Life, health, and comfort, to Thy will,
And make Thy pleasure mine."

"Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned
  Each drop that fills my daily cup; Thy hand
Prescribes for ills none else can understand.
All, all is known to Thee."
~ A. L. Newton ~

"No star is ever lost we once have seen,
We always may be what we might have been.
Since Good, though only thought, has life and breath,
God's life--can always be redeemed from death
And evil, in its nature, is decay,
And any hour can blot it all away
The hopes that lost in some far distance seem,
May be the truer life, and this the dream."

"If thou hast Yesterday thy duty done,
And thereby cleared firm footing for To-day
Whatever clouds make dark To-morrow's sun,
Thou shalt not miss thy solitary way."

"My father, teach us not only thy will, but how to do it.
Teach us the best way of doing the best thing,
lest we spoil the end by unworthy means."

"It is by doing our duty that we learn to do it. So long as men dispute whether or no a thing is their duty, they get never the nearer. Let them set ever so weakly about doing it, and the face of things alters. They find in themselves strength which they knew not of. Difficulties which it seemed to them they could not get over, disappear. For He accompanies it with the influences of His blessed Spirit, and each performance opens our minds for larger influxes of His grace, and places them in communion with Him."

"Dear friends, now we are children of God,
and what we will be has not yet been made known."

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Adrienne ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A Usual Snowy Saturday in January

~ Buffy and Polly...or is it Sally... ~
There's an old saying, "no rest for the righteous and the weary don't need none". Ain't it the truth! Oh, and by the way, the word ain't was in popular usage as late as the 1960's and considered correct use of the language. Also, the word et for eat. I know language evolves and changes but, frankly, I don't think in a good way when words like gay no longer means happy or booty no longer means spoils of war. And, since I'm on an rant, did you know the word booty is used in the Old Testament? Yep, meaning spoils of war and not a fat girls backside. Oh, is that un-PC? bad.
~ if you were a man, I'd marry you Sam! ~
~ Ranger, my hero ~
Polaris makes a UTV, Utility Terrain Vehicle, that is a powerhouse; I'm not sure I could do what I do if I didn't have the Ranger. Dave bought it for me a few years back and it's made farm chores so much easier, safer and warmer. Although, when four dogs and I are crammed inside, the going is slower than usual. At the touch of a button, the bed lifts and dumps the contents to the ground while the heater, once warm, will make me open windows. There's a windshield wiper and each wheel has independent suspension...whooohooo! My Ranger, it's the Bomb!
Clinton, my neighbor, feeding his sheep. I think it's odd that Thistle Cove Farm still has so much snow but neighboring farms are bare and barren again. That should change as we're to get a couple more inches of snow tonight but Monday, the temps are supposed to be in the 50's which means boot sucking mud...again. sigh.
To feed cattle the men unroll a round bale of hay; the cattle line up, either side, and eat until it's gone or their calves take a snooze on what's left. The hay makes a soft, warm bed that's Very Attractive to the youngins.
~ don't hate me because I live in a beautiful place ~
I didn't make it to WalMart yesterday but went this morning, after chores. In between snow storms today, we did have some clear skies and Morris Knob is viewed from a different direction.
This fine buck was camera shy but I managed to get a photo or two of he and his family. I'm not sure but he could be at least a ten-pointer, perhaps 12; certainly he's beautiful and I hope he makes it to a ripe old age. Hear that, Daniel?!
~ John and Daniel, taking a meeting ~
One of my favorite things about living in a rural area is our version of taking a meeting. All of which means, when you see a neighbor, you stop and chat...the weather, feeding, cattle, dogs, children, spouses, neighbors...the usual stuff everyone talks about. It's just our board room is the great outdoors -smile-. 
Perhaps I should have started with this photo. I made bread yesterday, a couple of soft oatmeal loaves that are delicious toasted and slathered with butter and my home made jam or my brother's honey. A neighbor has an uncle who keeps a milk cow and he's promised to get me a couple of gallons of milk. In return, I've promised to churn for butter and buttermilk and will share and, of course, I'll put a loaf of home made bread in the poke as well. 
So, that's my usual Saturday; any day, really that's not Sunday or I have to go to town. Feeding my animals takes a while, especially with all the good helpers I've got, especially with all the picture taking I do, especially with all the rubber necking I enjoy. God has blessed me so much; my daily prayer is, "Please, God, give me the strength to do what You have set before me."  He never disappoints.

Blessings ~ strength ~ health ~ beauty ~ bread ~ neighbors ~ hay ~ deer ~ Ranger ~

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Dog's Life, All Six of 'Em!

~ waiting for breakfast ~
We're having Ole Man Winter visit the farm today; wind chills are around zero, temps are around 10 above F and the sun is playing hide and seek...mainly hide. We've been to the barn to count noses, feed animals, check water and now it's after lunch, time to do...well, what needs to be done is yet more paperwork dealing with Dave's death. However, I am so weary of paperwork; 'deed, what I'd really like is to run away from home if only for a night or two. Just to get a different perspective, to blow the cobwebs out, to have a meal food that's more than a handful of nuts or jellybeans or, for breakfast, Grapenuts cereal. It seems I can't get away from nuts -smile-. 
~ no sweater for Jake B. Goode ~
It takes me a while to get everyone ready for the barn trek. The dogs all have sweaters and I have layers; by the time I get their sweaters on them, I've worked up a sweat, both from the exertion and from continually saying, "Stand still; wait a minute, stop that, move please!" Everyone is excited, they know what's coming and it makes them happy. All that is, save Jake, my Prodigal Son Border Collie, who is too dogly to wear a sweater. I think. At least, I've never tried putting a sweater on him. Jake has been coming here for around a year a while, can't really remember, and now that it's harsh winter, Jakes sleeps inside but still deigns to go to the barn for chores. He needs to keep an eye on the sheep and horses, you see. Jake is a Rambling Man and as a matter of fact, he and the Blue Heeler bitch on the farm behind us, just had a litter of puppies. As soon as I'm able to get off the farm, I'm going to buy a huge bag of dog food to contribute to their table. The folks who own the proud Mom hardly have two pennies to rub together so a bag of dog food will help Mom and puppies alike. BTW, anyone want a beautiful working dog? Those puppies are likely to have more brains than you and I put together and as both parents are beautiful, the puppies are button cute as well. Photos asap.
I'd ask Dave, "want me to take Jake to the animal shelter?" and Dave would always say, "no, but dadgummit! I hate having a dog that's smarter than me!" Jake comes and goes, as he wills and as always, and we're growing accustomed to each other's ways. 
~ Abigail Von Rotten the Terrier and Sadie Hawkins ~
Abbie has been here since May 1997 but only God knows her beginnings or her age but we do know she's a rough coat Jack Russell. She was an adult when we found her and, even though aged, she's still got a heart the size of Montana. Her eyes are dimmed, her hearing almost gone and she requires two sweaters when the weather is harsh yet she refuses to stay behind. I know the feeling; I'd rather die with my boots on than watching television and, God willing, when it's my time, I'll go with my boots on, doing what I love, chores on this farm. 
Sadie, aka Sada Hawkins, is from Keniba Ridgebacks and almost three; she's the only one we actually know their birth date. She's still puppyish and that's because I've allowed her to grow at her own pace and rate. Sadie, as are all Ridgebacks, is a chow hound and a counter surfer; if it's food, it's not safe. I cannot begin to tell you how many pounds of butter and bacon, glasses of milk, roasts, mashed potatoes, etc. she's consumed over the years. If it's not in the oven or placed high, it's not safe; she'll eat it. I know for a fact she burnt her tongue when she ate shortbread right from the hot pan! I was sure the shortbread was safe as it sat cooling for ten minutes but nope; Sadie said, "gosh it was hot but good!" Bad girl but it was my fault so no, she wasn't punished beyond my lot and loudly. By the by, Keniba has a litter of puppies in February and if you're able to get on their buy list, more hurrah for you. Edith, Keniba's breeder, has Excellent Quality Ridges and I unreservedly recommend her. Yes, you can get less expensive Ridgebacks but as Dave always said, "Pay now or pay later, probably triple." It's always much better to put your money on the table in the beginning and get a quality companion animal, one who is deemed free of disease and health problems. Later on, it's not only financially expensive but it's heart breaking to deal with a friend who is sickly and in poor health so don't do it; buy quality and save yourself heartbreak. But, please, please...someone head slap me...I CAN NOT GET ANOTHER DOG...either a Ridge or one of Jake's puppies. Please help me say "NO"! 
Dave used to tell me the Drudge Report would, eventually, say, "Cove couple has 57 dogs!" I'd look at him and reply, "you say that like it's a bad thing!" 
~ Sophie Lauren Butterball ~
My little fat girl still hasn't lost weight but that's not her fault. Her dang human, me, gives treats in the morning and feeds at night. I have cut back on the treats so, maybe, she'll start losing a pound or four. Sophie came here the week after Dave was buried; her human Pa had cancer and died leaving her human Ma in dire straits.  Dave and I'd discussed bringing Sophie to live with us and just because Dave died, I saw no reason to reverse my offer. Soph is a broken coat brown and white Jack Russell and thinks she owns the place; between she and Abbie, they're probably right.
~ Sam P. Spade, Secret Agent ~
Sam still hasn't told us what the P. stands for but that's okay; a man of mystery is always welcome. One first Sunday in June, while on the way to church, Dave and I found Sam. He was just a little thing and had, probably, been thrown out with his litter. He was the only one we found so we turned around, brought him home and put him in the kennel with fresh water and food. sigh. Dave and I being humans, are slow so it took us two weeks to get it through out thick skulls Sam was meant to live here, on the farm, and we would be his humans. It's been a good arrangement and all are happy with this little Basket Hound, aka Basset Hound, Spaniel, Terrier mix. 
~ Grandma Grace and Miss Kitty ~
Gracie is the oldest dog, we're guessing around seventeen but, again, only God knows. She was wandering around on the side of the road when she was, easily, persuaded to live on the farm. Her bones are old, she's slow and dim of sight but is yet able to dance for a treat. Grace is an Australian Shepherd Corgi mix and loves to herd me. If I'm not moving quickly enough or in the "right" direction, Grace will take a little nip at my heels to hurry me along. Alas, Miss Kitty has gone on before and she and Dave are saving me a place. 
I've not even gone into detail on the rescued horse or sheep; that's for another entry. I do know I need to get to the grocery store, if I'm going; there's sure to be black ice on the road so I need to go and come during daylight hours. 
So, tell me...who have you rescued lately? Who owes their life to your being willing to extend a hand?

Blessings ~ Abigail ~ Grace ~ Sadie ~ Sam ~ Jake ~ Sophie ~ and all those gone before and to come after, God bless us, everyone! ~

Monday, January 09, 2012

A Howling Wilderness

A few days ago, Millie and I were talking; she asked how I was doing. I told her, "where Dave used to be, here on the farm with us, is now a black hole and everything is rushing toward that black hole, being pulled into, sucked inside, and wanting, needing to be wholly obliterated. It's all a horrible dream, a nightmare that is never ending. It goes on, day after day after day, breath after breath after breath... ."
See what lies before you, dear ones? At a time when one is most vulnerable, most grief stricken, most emotionally is the time when the vultures come forth to feast on the psyche.
~ Very loud, very heavy organ music is appropriate here ~
"Oh, we're so sorry for your loss. Your husband owed us xx dollars on his last credit card bill so if you'll give us your checking account information, we can deduct it immediately, as in today, right now, to pay his account in full," said one credit card rep.
"That's not possible. I need to go to the bank rearrange some funds and will send a check tomorrow," said I.
Said credit card rep, "no, that's not our policy. We want our money NOW and if you don't give us your checking account information, we'll search for your husband's estate and seize the estate."
"What part of "I called you" don't you understand? I called you to find out how much money he owes so I can pay the bill...but only after I ascertain there is enough money in my checking account. I've paid a lot of bills this week and need to make sure I have enough money in the account to cover the check. There's no need to treat me like a criminal! Finally, I am the estate...get it?!"    
So, when I disappear for days on end, it's because my energy levels have been sucked entirely dry by some emotional vampire in their day job as a corporate employee.
One thing about grief that has entirely caught me off-guard is how physically exhausting it is to simply put one foot before the other. I knew it was emotionally overwhelming but the physical exhaustion has caught me altogether by surprise. I'll have one good morning or afternoon, or, once or twice, a time or two almost a day, but those few good hours cost me ten times more in days of feeling totally submerged, of being dead-headed, of seeing through a glass darkly, if at all.
Remember that black hole mentioned earlier? Inordinate amounts of time are spent pulling back from that black hole edge; trying to maintain some semblance of balance in a fight to stay upright, on my feet and not completely drowning in an emotional quarry of grief and other emotions. It's my experience I cannot pray myself out of it, I cannot talk myself out of it, I cannot cry myself out of it...I must bear the weight of grief as a mantilla; bowed, bloody, breathless, exhausted until it passes and, for a short time, I am given respite. A relief, all too brief, from it all.
Grief is a howling wilderness where I stumble around, for the most part, blind to everything but the pain of grief, while it drenches me in fog as in the photo above.
There are two Bible verses I clutch with whatever strength God gives me.
"The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still."
~ Exodus 14:14 ~
"He will command His angels to guard you in all your ways."
~ Psalms 91:11 ~
I'm beginning to understand why no one, much, speaks of grief. It's too personal, too raw, too emotional, too messy. Yet, is that not why we are called to be Christians? To help one another? I tell you truthfully, I believe if I were not a Christian, I would have killed every living thing on this farm and myself last. It is being a Christian, casting myself on Abba's, my heavenly Father's lap, that gets me out of bed each morning. It is He who gets me through the days, the weeks, the months, the moments. In time, grief subsides, tiny bit by tiny bit, and, I think, but am not sure, I am left, perhaps, a tiny bit stronger.
"I walked a mile with Pleasure
  She chattered all the way
But left me none the wiser
  For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow.
  And ne'er a word said she
But oh! the things I learned from her
  When Sorrow walked with me."
~ Robert Browning Hamilton ~

Blessings ~ Stephanie ~ Millie ~ Timi ~ Sandra ~ Jill ~ Vicki ~ Mary Lois ~ Ray ~ Fred ~

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." 

"For he will command his angels concerning you 
  to guard you in all your ways."

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda ~ Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Meteor Shower, Wife to Widow, Etc.

~ serenity, thy name is Thistle Cove Farm ~

The first meteor shower of 2012 begins tonight but the best viewing is after midnight/pre-dawn tomorrow morning. The Quadrantid Meteor Shower is supposed to peak about 2:30 tonight and is supposed to be one of this year's best. Science Daily has another report. 

I'm planning on having hot chocolate and my heavy boots and coat ready with sweaters on the dogs. Guess I'll find out how they like being awakened in the wee hours for something I want to do!

The Joy of Quiet - what farmers have known all along is now being touted as the new, best, biggest, brightest and folks are paying huge
$$$ for the privilege of silence. There are people going to the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur who are paying more than $2,000 a night to not have a television, i-net or radio in their rooms. Heck, they can just come here and I'd only charge them $2K even and make sure they had farm chores to do mornings and evenings. They could really commune with nature!

There are also Internet Rescue Camps...I kid you not!...for those who are addicted to computers. Is it just me or is anyone else wondering why people don't have a life anymore? 

Additionally, in the above referenced article, the author says s/he has friends who buy some kind of software which enables them to disable their i-net connections. HELLLLOOOO! My computer has an off button but, then again, perhaps I am special, just like Dave always told me, eh? -smile- I don't know how to text, can't take pictures with my cell phone and don't have a least not one that doesn't use a number two pencil.

OTOH, I've either been without telephone service or intermittent service since Christmas Day, but when I call Verizon to tell them about it, they speak to me...Angel, are you listening...and I don't think she's one of the heavenly realm...tells me, "Well, I don't know why you're calling, my computer shows you have service." Yes, dear, however, it's you know what that big word means, Angel? It means spotty, sometimes, not all the time, infrequently and, sometimes, Not At All. Fortunately, or so time will tell, a supervisor Heather listened to me and said she'd give me a $25 one time credit and I wouldn't pay for the days I've been without service. 

Tie that in with the electricity that's been off and it's been Really Quiet here on the farm. That is, if I don't count the wind which has been Really Harsh. You know, I can stand the cold as well as the silence and, in fact, love both, but the wind is something else. It's determined to suck the warmth out of everything living and last night the temps in my bedroom were 45F above zero. I'm not sure what the wind chill was and don't really want to know. I do know it was a four dog night but it is every night around here -smile-.
~ please, take button from top left, not this one ~
In an attempt to muddle my way through this Wife to Widow journey, I am starting a new blog to help other people do some things that will make the paperwork, etc. just a tad easier. Someone asked me if I'd make it pertinent to men as well as women. Anyone, wives, husbands, singles can glean the information but, statistically speaking, it's the husband who dies first and the wife left. So, the new blog is written from my, the wife's, point of view. However, trust me when I tell you this: Everyone can benefit from what I've learned and, I'm hoping, others will chime in with their experiences. 

The new blog address is WifetoWidow; please grab the button on the top left of my Thistle Cove Farm blog and spread the word. As EBB so beautifully said

"Knowing that when light is gone  
Love remains for shining"

Blessings ~ Madge ~ silence ~ serenity ~ dogs ~ meteor showers ~ journeys ~ we're all on our way from somewhere to eternity ~ 

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sabbath Keeping

~ the road ahead ~

"When he maketh inquisition for blood, he remembereth them:
he forgetteth not the cry of the humble."    

"Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being.
Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric?
Think first about the foundations of humility. 
The higher your structure is to be,
the deeper must be its foundation." 

"If I have seen further than others; it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

"A man can counterfeit love, he can counterfeit faith, he can counterfeit hope and all the other graces, but it is very difficult to counterfeit humility." ~  D. L. Moody

"I long to accomplish a great and noble task;
but my chief duty is to accomplish small tasks
as if they were great and noble." 

"The smallest things become great when God requires them of us; they are small only in themselves; they are always great when they are done for God." ~ Francois Fenelon ~

"True merit, like a river, the deeper it is, the less  noise it makes."

"Be not proud of race, face, place, or grace."

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."

"If I cannot in honest happiness take the second place (or the twentieth); if I cannot take the first without making a fuss about my unworthiness, then I know nothing of Calvary love."
~ Amy Carmichael ~"Blessed the man and woman who is able to serve cheerfully in the second rank -- a big test." ~ Mary Slessor ~

"How do we know if we have a servant’s heart?
By how we act when we are treated like one!"
~ Unknown ~

"Just because God is working through us does not mean that we are right with God." ~ Unknown ~

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself
but thinking of yourself less."
~ C.S. Lewis

"Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.
For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved,
but the one whom the Lord commends."

If you'd like your name added to the prayer list, please let me know.

Prayer Keeping ~ Karena ~ Roland ~ Debbie ~ Beckwith family ~ Lea and family ~ Kary ~ Mildred ~ John ~ Noelle ~ Geoffrey ~ Terry ~ Angela, Penny and family ~ Daniel ~ Morgan ~ Meredith ~ Susan ~ Stephanie ~ Winnie ~ Wanda ~ Steve ~ Leslie ~ William and Catherine ~ Becky ~ Rick ~ Misha ~ J ~ Linda and Skip ~ Ryan ~ Roy ~ Tonya ~ me ~

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